The NHS launched a huge appeal for Covid volunteers at the start of the pandemic, and the British public responded in their thousands. Through the spring and summer an army of unpaid helpers did grocery shopping, picked up prescriptions or just checked in with isolated people over the telephone. Now that the vaccine is starting to be rolled out across the UK, the appeal for help has been renewed, and it’s not just medical volunteers who are needed.
Volunteers at Covid Centres
The staff who are working inside Covid vaccination centres administering the jabs are in the main trained medical personnel, such as doctors, nurses, midwives or pharmacists. There are lots of other roles which need to be done at Covid centres, and which don’t need a qualified medical professional to do them. Volunteers could be managing queues to make sure social distance is maintained, directing traffic in car parks, or performing administrative checks on paperwork. These aren’t medical roles and getting volunteers in to do these tasks means freeing up the medically qualified staff for the more important job of getting the vaccines into arms.
Can I Apply?
If you’re interested in helping out at your Covid vaccination centre, search online for opportunities on your NHS local website. There has been lots written about the hoops that people are being asked to jump through to get a position as a vaccinator, but for volunteers the requirements are less rigid. The main requirement is to be physically fit, and flexible in your time commitments. Most of the larger vaccination hubs are open from 8am to 8pm, and volunteers are required across this period, 7 days a week. There’s also likely to be a fair amount of standing around outside pointing patients in the right direction, in the cold and possibly rainy weather. No particular qualifications are needed for being a volunteer, apart from a desire to help out and an ability to get on well with people.
DBS Checks for Volunteers?
In the earlier stages of the pandemic, the DBS altered its application process in order to speed up applications from NHS volunteers. This was cited as being a temporary measure, but it is still in place almost a year on. For people applying to work with adults, the DBS will first check off their application against the list of people who are banned from that type of work. If the initial check comes back clear, then the volunteer can start right away. The full check will still be completed, and the certificate will follow in the post in due course. Most NHS volunteers will require an enhanced DBS check, but this will depend on the role they have applied to do.
Volunteers qualify for a free DBS check whether there is a pandemic or not. The various NHS boards around the country are geared up to process DBS checks and help with application queries, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if it’s difficult to work out how to complete the form.